Winter Care for The Knock Out Family of Roses and Drift Roses

Many people have asked me about the best way to prepare their Drift® and Knock Out® Roses for winter. Both of these roses are bred to be care-free and cold hardy so winter preparation is minimal, but I do have a few tips that I have found useful in my garden.

  • First things first, the Drift® Roses are winter hardy to zone 4 and The Knock Out® Family of Roses are hardy to zone 5. There is little difference between the two for planting in the more northern regions of the country. Make sure the plant you choose is hardy to the region where you live.
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  • In order to help harden off your rose for the coming cold months, discontinue fertilizing them about 4 weeks before your first frost date. Feeding them too late in the season can cause them to put on new growth that is vulnerable to cold temperatures. For the same reason, wait until spring to prune them.
  • Continue to water roses as needed right up to the first hard freeze. You want them to be well hydrated when winter sets in.
  • Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the plant after the ground freezes. This is especially helpful in areas that experience cold winters without a lot of snow cover. The mulch will help prevent repeated freezing and thawing of the ground, which can cause the soil to heave.

And there you have it. Four simple steps are all you should follow to prepare The Knock Out® Family of Roses and Drift® Roses for winter. Just another reason why both are so popular.

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